Government to provide 'immediate' humanitarian aid after flooding in Donegal

The damage in the area has been described as "absolute devastation"

Government to provide 'immediate' humanitarian aid after flooding in Donegal

Damage to the main Derry to Moville road in Co Donegal caused by the force of a flooded river. Picture by: Brian Hutton/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 12:45pm

The Government has announced it has activated a Humanitarian Assistance Scheme in the wake of the flooding in Donegal.

Dozens of people have been staying in emergency accommodation after torrential rain on Tuesday washed away homes, roads and bridges in Inishowen Peninsula.

Around 200 homes are believed to have been affected after the 'unprecedented' flooding, and officials are still trying to determine the scale of the damage.

Announcing financial aid for residents, Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said: “When events like this occur the state needs to help in any and every way we can.

"The stresses families are under is not to be underestimated and the Department will do everything we can to relieve that stress and support the people of Donegal”.

The means-tested scheme will apply to people "whose homes are damaged by flooding and who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, household items and in some instances structural repair."

In a statement the Department of Social Protection said the scheme is "demand led" adding that no limit has been set on the amount that can be paid to an individual household.

"Levels of payment depend on the relative severity of damage experienced and the household’s ability to meet these costs," it said.

"All households who qualify for support under the scheme will be assisted.”

Residents affected are being asked to visit their local social welfare office, or call Buncrana Intreo office on (074) 9364600 or Ballybofey Intreo on (074) 9130490.

Absolute devastation 

Donegal County Council's John McLoughlin told Newstalk Breakfast that he'd never seen anything like it.

He explained: "The wall of water that came down, some of the streams, would not have been seen in living memory.

"Places that might have flooded one foot in the past, may have been up to three or four feet of water."

He described the damage caused to roads, bridges, livestock and homes as "absolute devastation".

Clean up operations underway at Cockhill Bridge in Buncrana, Co Donegal. Picture by: Brian Hutton/PA Wire/PA Images

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran - Junior Minister for the OPW and Flood Relief - visited the area yesterday.

He committed to humanitarian relief for residents, saying: "The devastation that I have witnessed... is something that I haven't witnessed before.

"When I say I haven't... I've seen a lot of flooding, but not to the extent we've seen here."

Fianna Fáil's environment spokesman Timmy Dooley, however, has warned that politicians need to stick around longer than the media.

He argued: "When the cameras move on, there are people left behind without the appropriate input from the state."